The popularity of podcasting continues to grow at a rapid rate. The Interactive Advertising Bureau forecasts podcasting will pull in more than $2 billion in ad revenue this year. Content diversity is strong and content distribution is also diverse. Audience measurement is getting better, with the ability to target demographics and psychographics at scale. And Nielsen, with its vast measurement capabilities, is growing its presence in the podcasting space.
However, with all these positive opportunities come some growing pains that need to be addressed to see continued success in the future. A recent survey conducted by CoHost found that podcasters are realizing that audience growth is one of the most significant hurdles they must overcome. 91% of the respondents said this was their top challenge. In addition, 82% said that getting discovered by new listeners was one of their greatest challenges. Finally, 58% said they need a better understanding of how listeners are finding their show.
Another challenge for podcasters is monetizing their podcast. In that same survey, 76% of the respondents either currently monetize or have plans to monetize their podcasts, and nearly half (48%) of those are relying on sponsorships to do so. 37% said they sell advertising while 18% rely on donations and tips. Another 5% said they also offer subscriptions.
Advertising on podcasts, especially local market advertising, is going through growing pains of its own. Prognosticators are predicting that streaming audio sales will grow this year faster than most other media, but the mood of local advertisers has soured in recent months. In a recent survey of local advertisers, 51% expected conditions for small businesses to get worse in the next six months. That is up from 35% in February, and 19% from this time last year. In a survey from May of this year, about 20% of advertisers expected to spend less money on advertising. That is up from 11% this time last year. Finally, the price of podcasting advertising is high, with podcast CPMs (cost per thousand) coming in three times higher than traditional broadcast radio, with only television having higher CPMs.
On a brighter note, new technologies are coming into play that could help podcasting to overcome some of the difficulties it is now experiencing. Audio display ads, which combine the audio and image without the need for coding or video production, can allow full podcast episodes to be integrated into the ad. And “shoppable” ads, which could be dynamically inserted into podcasts, are now being widely tested. Shoppable ads give listeners the ability to buy a product or service directly from the advertisement.
As podcasting becomes more mainstream, overcoming some of these hurdles will help to ease the growing pains of this emerging medium.
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